It’s happening again. I am seeing a massive shift with lots of influencers closing their Facebook groups. Inevitably, whenever this happens, I always get a whole bunch of questions about it.
So, I decided to be proactive and will try to answer all those questions upfront. As you know, Marie Forleo closed her Facebook community, which was associated with her program earlier this year. Amy Porterfield is now doing the same with her Facebook community that she “gave lifetime access to”. I could go on listing several other influencers who are also closing their free groups and their paid groups. Why is it happening though?
Facebook groups in 2020, 2021 & Beyond
I see this happen almost every single year. Facebook groups are an investment of resources. An investment of energy. An investment of time. An investment of money. An investment of people. (someone is managing those groups).
I do understand how for some people that investment is not aligned with the greater vision that they might have for their company. I try to put myself in their shoes. When you’re managing a large community there’s a lot of dynamics involved in that. You have to be really mindful of the community rules, the guidelines etc.
I’m not sharing any of this to scare you. On the contrary. I’m sharing this because I think it’s important to understand that as you have a group that grows, more things come up that you have to manage within that group.
In my own Facebook group, I have currently about 1,400 people. Not everybody adheres to the rules and just the other day, I had to kick someone out because they kept promoting themselves, even though the rule says clearly “No spam”. So, yes, it can be really frustrating to have to manage it. At the same time, having a private Facebook community, whether it’s part of a paid group or a free group, can really bring your tribe together and it can be a conversion tool when leveraged properly. That is something really important to note.
Also, Facebook is investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in Facebook groups and just did a summit on Facebook groups and community building. This is super important to stress because they aren’t going away. Oftentimes when there are these mass exoduses of “gurus” who are abandoning their Facebook groups, it’s because someone got a rumor that Facebook is closing groups.
Facebook groups are not going away, folks!
I have clients who are part of their beta testing community. They have access to run ads inside of their Facebook group and I have personally seen ads inside a Facebook group. They’re constantly rolling out new features. They have realized that people are using the Facebook groups as a tool to educate. They are adding features to support education. So the groups aren’t going away. That’s usually one of the biggest concerns that people have when they see gurus leave groups.
Free Facebook community vs. paid Facebook community
A lot of people like Amy Porterfield and Marie Forleo are closing a paid community that was part of a program. They were offering access to the Facebook community as part of a free program, and many of them gave “lifetime access”.
Here’s a very important business lesson: Do not offer lifetime access to your community if you’re not willing to actually put your money where your mouth is!
The same happened with the Screwpies: the Screw The Nine To Five crew. They sold a bunch of lifetime access to the membership programs and ultimately ended up closing it three months after launching it. From a revenue and business perspective, they shot themselves in the foot.
I want you to understand that when you commit to doing a Facebook Group, as part of a program, it’s really important to be very clear and set expectations from the start. How long do people get access to this community? Because it is an investment of resources.
If you are offering lifetime access, you have to invest time, money, and mental bandwidth managing the group, even after somebody has gone through your program. It can be a lot, especially depending upon the size of your community. When Marie Forleo’s B-School closed, I dedicated an entire live on it. Part of why I talked about that, is that her community got so big that she had trouble managing it. She sort of mismanaged her community. She didn’t lead them well. She was not trying to be deceptive, and ultimately got a lot of backlash for that.
Here’s the thing: That is part of running a community! You have to take the good with the bad.
On the flip side, it can also be a great place to continually generate leads from. That’s the piece you have to balance, because there are lots of pluses to having a paid community where you offer lifetime access.
You do have to understand how you monetize that after somebody goes through your program. I won’t ever do a lifetime access deal, because I don’t know what the future’s going to hold for my business.
When I think about having a Facebook Community, I think about it from the perspective of, “Hey, you can get this as part of being in this group with me”. It’s available to you for a certain period of time. If you want to extend that experience, and you want me to continue looking at your stuff and receive feedback from me, then you can add on more time. For me, that energetically feels really good on the paid side of things.
Let’s look at free communities. There is a place for free communities because consumers are smarter. Prospects are smarter. They realize that when they post on a public Facebook page, that
a) the entire world can see it
b) you’ll probably more than likely get re-targeted and with that in mind, people are less likely to comment and less likely to engage.
Facebook’s reach on pages is challenging. Inside of a community, you can get a lot more reach and way more engagement for free and organically, than you can on your business page.
Facebook Business Page
But, don’t abandon your business page. You need your business page if you plan on running ads, and I recommend ads for most people. There’s this balance where you have to tie these two things together in a strategy in order to make it work. At the end of the day, if you manage your free community well, you will also generate business from it.
I give people inside my facebook group special things. Occasionally, I’ll do a free content ideas thread where I literally go through and give people ideas on what kind of content they should be making. I do lots of things like that inside my community that I don’t do elsewhere. So for me, understanding what the incentive is to be inside this free community and actually engaging with the people that are in there is really important if you’re going to have a Facebook community that converts from the free to the paid.
Understanding what the strategic intent of the why is behind you creating a Facebook group becomes really important, rather than listening to whatever the “gurus” are saying and advising to close Facebook groups. That’s why Amy Porterfield, Marie Forleo, and all these people are jumping on this Facebook closing train. Don’t be surprised if you see a bunch more people doing that soon. Do not feel pressured to follow suit. As the business owner, you need to understand that you have to determine if that makes the most sense for you.
- Does it feel aligned with your business goals?
- Do you enjoy doing it?
- Does it add a layer of support for your paid program?
- Does it add a layer of support for your clients?
- Do they interact with each other and get support that they wouldn’t be able to get elsewhere?
- Does it make it easier for prospects to move forward with you?
Follow your gut. Yes, it is an investment of time, money, energy, and resources. But also look at how it can help you nurture your prospects faster. At the end of the day, that’s the decision you have to make, and it’s ultimately up to you.
Don’t make a decision based on what someone else is doing with their best interest in mind. Base it on your own business and what your own goals are so that you can make a sound decision.
And again, Facebook groups aren’t going away. On the contrary, Facebook keeps investing more money into them.
If you have more questions that I didn’t cover please be sure to head on over to Making Marketing and Online Business Simple with me, Jamie Palmer. I will answer all your questions related to Facebook groups. Because I think it’s really important to set the record straight on this once and for all.
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